Project Management Coaching Workbook: Book Review

Self-improvement doesn’t happen by chance or by accident.

However, if you don’t have any place to start from and nothing to set a goal against, the odds are that your desire for improvement will go nowhere.  In order to put together a plan to move forward, you need something to  measure your progress against.  

And there lies the problem.  

After a PM has achieved their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, it can be hard to find a standard to set goals or gauge your improvement against.  Where do you find a good benchmark of progress?

Resources at Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

A couple of weeks back, I recommended Personal Effectiveness in Project Management as a good resource to use as a personal effectiveness benchmark.  Professor Wong’s book helps PMs look at what internal motivations or behaviors that prevent her from growing/ achieving more.

On the other end of the spectrum, The Project Management Coaching Workbook, written by Susanne Madsen, is another resource that will help you look at personal effectiveness through the lens of a more project management process-focused model.  Madsen’s book focuses on the external processes that if implemented well, result in a successful project.

Madsen identifies 10 project management themes that are critical for effective project management that anyone can use to develop goals and track improvement against:

  • Managing Product Quality
  • Tracking Cost & Schedule
  • Risk, Issue & Scope Management
  • Managing & Motivating the Team
  • Stakeholder Relationships and Communication
  • Self-Management
  • Leadership Behavior
  • Project Stability and Identity
  • Skills & Knowledge
  • Project Initiation & Planning

The key benefit to Madsen’s book that it gives the reader a guide on ‘what to do’ to be a better project manager.  Personal Effectiveness serves as a guide on ‘how to manage yourself’ so that you can be more effective as a project manager.  In my opinion, I think both are valuable and can be used to improve your personal effectiveness as a PM.

How does it work?

So how does Madsen’s ‘Project Management effectiveness gauge’ work?
Using a spider diagram, Madsen asks her readers to gauge their performance against the 10 themes.  She asks PMs to…

1) Imagine what a 10 out of 10 score would look like on your project: what would you be doing or feeling?
2) Perform your own self-assessment against the themes
3) Check your self-assessment against someone else’s feedback

Looking inward first, then reaching out to others provide their input, the PM will be able to get a clearer sense of the areas they need to focus on.

Why Read the Book?

I recommend the book because:
1. It is focused on Project Management processes.
2. It includes Team / Stakeholder management as a critical aspect of project success
3. It seems like an excellent book to be read alongside the internal focus of Personal Effectiveness for Project Management.

So if you’re looking for a book to help guide you in your personal development planning, The Project Management Coaching Workbook would be an excellent resource for both the beginner and seasoned project manager.  Do you know of another book everyone should read on Personal Effectiveness?  Leave a comment of send me a tweet, my id is @jgodfrey.

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